Liquor Barn co-founder Irving Rosenstein dies

Irving Rosenstein, who helped found Liquor Barn, died Friday. 

Photo courtesy Rosenstein family
Irving Rosenstein, who helped found Liquor Barn, died Friday. Photo courtesy Rosenstein family Photo courtesy Rosenstein family

Irving Rosenstein, a shopping center developer who helped found what would become Liquor Barn, died Friday. He was 90.

Nicknamed "Chief" by his family, Mr. Rosenstein helped develop shopping centers including those at the corner of Reynolds and Nicholasville roads and Versailles Road at Village Drive, said his son, Rob Rosenstein.

"He had a great vision of what could come because so much of Lexington was undeveloped at that time," added his daughter, Ann Rosenstein Giles.

Around 1970, Mr. Rosenstein helped found Shoppers Village Liquors, the forerunners to today's Liquor Barns, and opened them in some of his shopping centers.

Roger Leasor went to work for Mr. Rosenstein a year after the first store opened.

"I think my hair was halfway down to my waist, and I was wearing cowboy boots," Leasor said. "Over the next few years, he was just so patient with me, as he was with everybody. That's just the way he was.

"He turned me into a pretend businessman. And it wasn't just me. There were hundreds of individuals over the years that you saw become bigger and better by being around him."

Leasor is now director of community affairs for the company, which was sold to a Canadian firm in 2009.

"He had the amazing gift of valuing all work," Leasor said of Mr. Rosenstein. "Whether you emptied the trash cans that day or you brought in carts or you created a newspaper ad or you negotiated a deal on a new store, it was all work that he valued."

As Shoppers Village Liquors grew, Mr. Rosenstein handed over operation of the company to his son, Rob, who helped grow it into the Liquor Barn concept.

Mr. Rosenstein was also involved with organizations including Temple Adath Israel, Triangle Park, KET and Junior Achievement.

He is survived by his wife, Irma S.; daughter, Ann Giles; and son Rob Rosenstein; and grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Temple Adath Israel. Services will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Temple Adath Israel.

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